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AIDS. 2004 Sep 3;18(13):1805-9.

Serious ophthalmic pathology compromising vision in HCV/HIV co-infected patients treated with peginterferon alpha-2b and ribavirin.

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  • 1Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.



To characterize the ocular changes associated with peginterferon alpha 2b (peg-IFN alpha-2b) and ribavirin therapy for chronic hepatitis C infection in HIV co-infected individuals.


A prospective, open-label trial treating HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infected individuals with peg-IFN alpha-2b and ribavirin at the Warren Grant Magnusson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Twenty-three patients with a high mean CD4+ T-cell count were treated with peg-IFN alpha-2b and ribavirin and followed for 40 to 88 weeks. Ophthalmologic evaluations including visual acuity, visual field testing, color vision examination and indirect ophthalmoscopy were performed at baseline and every 3 months.


Eight of the 23 patients (35%) developed ophthalmologic pathology, including cotton wool spots, cataracts, and two patients developed decreased color vision. These two patients regained their color vision, one after cessation of anti-HCV therapy.


Although retinal pathologies have been reported in patients treated with interferon-alpha, they have not been reported during peg-IFN alpha-2b therapy nor in HIV/HCV co-infected patients. The incidence of serious ocular pathology associated with anti-HCV therapy may be very high and is probably associated with peg-IFN alpha-2b. Increased monitoring of patients treated with peg-IFN alpha-2b for retinal and visual changes is warranted.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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